Film Musicals in the GDR

Andrea Rinke

in Film's Musical Moments

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651115 | DOI:
Film Musicals in the GDR

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The nationalised DEFA (Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft) was East Germany's only film company. As in other areas of industrial production in the GDR, the annual output of films was planned many years in advance by the DEFA management, the aim being to produce a balanced package covering a variety of genres including musicals and comedies. This chapter focuses on how the communist authorities in East Germany attempted to compete with Western popular culture by producing socialist musicals that celebrated factory life and farm collectives in the period between 1958 and 1968. Interestingly, as the chapter points out, the conventions of escapism and fun remained central to these films, although Western ‘decadence’ was rejected in favour of a strong emphasis on women's emancipation, especially the right to work. This chapter looks at two film musicals directed by two East German filmmakers who specialised in entertainment films – Gottfried Kolditz's Revue um Mitternacht (Midnight Revue, 1962) and Joachim Hasler's Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer, 1968) – both of which were domestic box office hits.

Keywords: Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft; film musicals; East Germany; popular culture; escapism; factory life; farm collectives; women; Revue um Mitternacht; Heißer Sommer

Chapter.  5212 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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